Tis’ the season to make a batch of these soft ginger bread cookies! Make them into festive holiday cookies or choose whatever shape you’d like! They are soft, spiced, and decorated with a simple icing that adds a bit of sweetness.
Gingerbread Cookie Cut Outs
Is there anything better than the smell of holiday cookies baking in the oven? We are all about healthy Christmas cookies that are made with whole, simple ingredients and these soft gingerbread cookies are our newest favorite cookie!
These ginger cookie cut outs were inspired by our delicious chewy ginger cookies. You can’t beat the spicy goodness of ginger and cloves and the sweetness of molasses.
Now, get moving and make a batch of these ginger cookie cut outs and decorate them to really get you in the holiday spirit.
Gingerbread Cookies 101
Ingredients You Need
We kept things pretty classic when it came to the ingredients for these cookies. There is a delicate balance when it comes to how much fat to use in a cut out cookie because you want to make sure they don’t spread out on the pan.
Here is everything you need to make these cookies.
- White whole wheat
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Ground cloves
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground ginger
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar (scooped and leveled)
- Large egg
- Powdered sugar
- 2% milk
- Vanilla extract
Can I substitute the butter for coconut oil?
No! We do not recommend using coconut oil instead of butter in these cookies. The coconut oil is too soft and does not help hold the shape of the gingerbread cookies. Cold butter is a must!
What if I don’t have those spices?
If you are missing ginger, cloves, or cinnamon, check to see if you have any spice mixes. Try a chai spice mix, a gingerbread spice mix, or anything with similar spices!
How do I store gingerbread cookies?
Store these gingerbread cookies in a cool dry place in an airtight container!
Can I freeze gingerbread cookies?
Yes, you can freeze these gingerbread cookies. You actually have two options!
- Freeze the cookie dough until you’re ready to bake them.
- Freeze the cookies after you have baked them and they have cooled completely.
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How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are pretty straight forward, if you follow a few basic (important) steps. Let’s start with the batter!
Mix the Batter
First things, first. Add all of the dry ingredients together into a bowl and stir them together. It is easier to have all of the dry ingredients mixed and ready to go when it’s time to slowly add it into the wet ingredients.
After the dry ingredients are ready, it’s time to cream the wet ingredietns together.
You have to cream the butter and the sugar together first. It is very important that you use cold butter. The colder the better!
After the butter and sugar are creamed together add the molasses and mix that with the butter and sugar until smooth.
The last thing to add to the wet ingredients is the large egg. You want to mix the egg in with the creamed ingredients, but just until combined. You don’t want to over beat the egg.
REfrigerate the Cookie Dough
When all the ingredients are combined it is time to get the dough in the refrigerator. To do this, be sure to form a ball with the cookie dough and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
Why do I have to refrigerate the cookie dough? You refrigerate the cookie dough so that the cookie dough sets before rolling it out and making cookie cut outs. The colder the dough, the less likely it is that the cookies will expand.
We recommend keeping the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but the longer the better (even overnight!).
Roll, Cut, + Freeze
After you have refrigerated the cookie dough it’s time to roll it out. You want to keep the cookie dough cool, so start by cutting the dough ball into quarters and start by rolling out one quarter at a time.
To roll out the cookie dough, dust a clean, flat surface with flour and then roll the cookie dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut the cookie dough into shapes.
Place those shapes onto a parchment lined plate and then place the cookie cut outs into the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
Why do I have to freeze the cookie cut outs? The colder the dough, the less the cookies with spread when they are baked. Freezing the cookies helps to prevent the cookies from spreading.
Finally, remove the cookie shapes from the freezer and place the shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes.
Let the cookies sit for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies
While the cookies are baking, make the gingerbread cookie icing. Make the icing by mixing all of the powdered sugar, unsalted butter, 2% milk, and vanilla extract into a bowl.
You want the icing to be thick enough to hold its shape. When it comes to frosting the cookies, you have two options.
Pipe the icing
If you would love to pipe icing onto the cookies, place the icing into an icing bag or a ziploc bag. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag (the smaller the hole the thinner the line) and pipe the icing on the cookie.
If you have sprinkles, be sure to sprinkle them on the icing while the icing is still wet! Let the icing set before storing the cookies.
Frost the icing
Feel free to use a knife to frost the top of each cookie and let the icing set before storing them.
Ginger Cookie Cut Outs
- 10 tablespoons butter cold and cut into 1/2 tablespoon pats
- 1 cup light brown sugar scooped and leveled
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- First, add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside for later.
- Next, using a stand mixer* butter and brown sugar together at medium speed. This will take around 3-4 minutes.
- Add molasses to the sugar and butter and cream the molasses into the mixture (~1 minute)
- Crack the egg into the creamed mixture mix on medium until combined.
- Finally, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a 1/2 cup scoop at a time and mix on medium. Repeat until all dry ingredients are gone and the dough is combined. The dough should be a little thicker than normal cookie dough, but still be very easy to form a ball.
- Wrap the cookie dough ball in plastic and place it into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (the longer the better).
- When there is 20 minutes left of refrigerator time, preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Once the dough has cooled. Remove from fridge and sprinkle flour onto a hard, cool surface as well as a rolling pin.
- Then, cut the cookie dough ball into quarters. Place one quarter on the floured surface and place the rest in the cookie dough in the refrigerator to stay cool until it's time to roll it out.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough so that it’s around 1/4-inch thick. If it’s sticking, sprinkle on some more flour.
- Use small/medium cookie cutters to create sugar cookie cut-outs. Place shapes onto your parchment-lined plate and freeze the cookie cut outs for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, place the frozen cut outs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Space the cookies out enough to leave room for them to expand.
- Bake at 350ºF for 6-8 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. They cook fast, so be careful! While these cookies are baking, prepare the next batch.
- Immediately remove from hot pan and place on cooling rack.
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting.
- For the frosting, add all the ingredients for the frosting into a large bowl and mix over low/medium speed until the frosting is thick, creamy, and smooth.
- Frost cookies with icing and then decorate with sprinkles and edible glitter.
- Will stay for up to 5-7 days in an airtight container.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.